The Goods

He must show, in the way he spends his money, that he is conscientious and not crass. The emerging code of financial correctness allows bourgeois bohemians to spend money without looking like one of the vulgar yuppies they despise. It's a set of rules to help them convert their wealth into spiritually and intellectually uplifting experiences. A person who follows these precepts can dispose up to $4 or $5 million annually in a manner that demonstrates how little he or she cares about material things.

-David Brooks

From the best place to buy porn to the best florist, we've got the goods, baby. With all the Super Wal-Marts and Meijer's and asphalt playgrounds opening up, wouldn't it be comforting to know that people still care about the small businesses, who fight The Man for the right to sell their wares?

Well, you, dear readers, are the ones who care.

Of course, not all the winners are small and independently-owned, but a substantial number are.

Chains did log in their fair share of votes (the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy pulled in some big numbers, for example), but the Mom and Pop shops generally prevailed, and readers supplied passionate essays about why they voted the way they did.

While Lexington might have pretty much everything you could ever need, everything you could want is a different matter (where can I get a decent zuppa inglese gelato? or a pair of sisal underwear?). Of course, everyone seems to want - among many other things - an IKEA. BADLY. Because it won for the second year running as "Best Store You Wish Lexington Had."

Though one reader scrawled in the margin, "what is the fascination with ugly Danish particle board furniture?"

Many considered chains something of a necessary evil in a town that's as driven by conspicuous consumerism as this one, but argued with their placement in terms of the good of the city.

For example, many readers wrote, "not one more Meijer's... unless it's downtown." Downtown needs a viable grocery store. Desperately. But they're multiplying like rabbits in the suburbs, where there are already too many.

The same with malls. Hamburg Pavilion sparked a lot of angry essays for its poor traffic and its debatable selection of shopping options. "Disappointing" was an adjective used frequently. If we must have chains, readers asked, "why is Nordstrom coming to Louisville and not here? Why no Crate & Barrel? Why no IKEA?"

Others confused Lexington with New York, "where's Barney's? Manolo Blahnik? Jimmy Choo? Prada? Dean & DeLuca?"

And many, many readers took the time to register their concern about the fate of Lexington Mall on Richmond Road. "Great location. Close to downtown and major residential neighborhoods to support it. Plenty of parking. It's a ghost town."

Another reader asked, "why pour all that money into that Hamburg eyesore when Lexington and Turfland Malls could be revitalized as successfully as Fayette Mall was?"

One thing's certain. Lexingtonians are prepared to fight for their right to shop. God love 'em.

Best Pet Store

IncrediPet

PetSmart

MVP

Best Hardware

Baker (old Botkin) True Value

Ace

Lexington Hardware

Best Place to Buy a Used Car

Don Jacobs Choice Used Cars

classifieds

Best Thrift Shop

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky

Salvation Army

Zebra Lounge/Zing

Best Florist

Oram's Chevy Chase Florists

Michler's

Best of Flowers

Best Used Books

Black Swan

Sqecial Media

Morgan-Adams

Best Place to Buy Porn

Video Max

Best Local Record Shop

CD Central

WHAT LEXINGTON DOESN'T NEED

Anymore stores like Meijer's or Wal Mart, I mean, how many of these do we need? Do we really need another Meijer's on Reynolds Rd, less than a mile from the New Wal Mart? Do we need more traffic in this already congested area? We need less chain everything, especially restaurants. You cannot drive five minutes without seeing an Applebee's, there is even one in Nicholasville.

-reader essay

Best Women's Clothes

Bella Rose

Isle of You

Worlds Apart

Best Men's Clothes

Howard & Miller

Logan's

Abercrombie & Fitch

WHAT LEXINGTON DOESN'T NEED

Another Meijer, WalMart or Target. I personally have watched developers and local government destroy the country roads, woods at Tates Creek, and Nicholasville Road. It really sucks. The groundhogs are scrambling to find a place to go on Reynolds Road.

-Lisa Turner, reader essay

Best Place to Shop for Someone Who Has Everything

Artique

Sqecial Media

Third Street Stuff

Best Store You Wish Lex Had

IKEA

Crate & Barrel

Tower Records